Published and © by Marvel, February 1980
Synopsis: Half the team searches for Dazzler, unaware that the remaining X-Men have been ensnared by the Hellfire Club.
Writer (plot): Chris Claremont and John Byrne
Writer (script): Claremont
Inker: Terry Austin
Review: “The Dark Phoenix Saga” keeps the pedal floored with this surprisingly strong debut of Dazzler and the first full appearance of Jean Grey as the Black Queen. The mix of kink and superheroics made for an intoxicating read for the young fans of the era, while questions of power, desire and agency still make it a compelling read today. There was a dark-and-dangerous magic to this arc that offered readers a taste of a richer, more-adult world than was usually visible in the Marvel Universe. Powerfully written and expertly drawn – and “The Dark Phoenix Saga” is just getting started.
Second opinion: “I like the overall direction of the book’s taking… I just wish they take a little more time and care.” – K. Williams, BEM #27, March 1980 … “Claremont and Byrne … managed to sell the Dazzler admirably.” – Jason Powell, “The Best There Is at What He Does: Examining Chris Claremont’s X-Men,” 2016 … Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003.
Cool factor: How good were Chris Claremont and John Byrne? Even the debut of Dazzler seems cool.
Not-so-cool factor: Why are there punks at a disco show? Youth culture in the Marvel Universe is an odd menagerie.
Notable: First appearance of Dazzler.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 12p British variant of this issue. … According to MyComicShop.com, there is also a Mark Jewelers variant.
Character quotable: “Call me Dazzler, darlin’. That’s my name – that’s what I do. Dazzle people.” – Dazzler, mutant disco queen
Editor’s note: This review was written June 23, 2022.